Management/Coordination of Resources
By Linda G. Worden RN, MPH CMC
According to the US Census bureau the there were 39.6 million people over the age of 65 in 2009. It is predicted that by 2050 that number will increase to 88.5 million. As the population ages, planning for meeting the care needs of elderly is going to be critical. Planning needs to start early and those involved must have an understanding of the complexities of care delivery and reimbursement.
A professional Geriatric Care Manager can help seniors and their families through individualized assessment and planning to successfully negotiate the complex patchwork of elderly services that is a challenge to access and manage. The care manager can assist in identifying and securing assistance with both medical and non-medical care.
A Geriatric Care Manager can reduce the stress associated with dealing with the overwhelming issues that arise for aging individuals and their families. The process begins with a comprehensive assessment of individual needs. This can include health issues, functional status, cognition, home safety, medication management, support systems and financial or legal concerns. Can an individual’s needs be met safely in the community should an alternative be found? Care managers can facilitate referrals to appropriate providers, coordinate services to decrease fragmentation and ensure quality.
They assist with housing transitions, determining reasonable costs for care, identifying alternative payment sources and advocate individuals across the continuum of care.
Geriatric Care Managers who primarily work with older adults bring more to their practice than an expertise in geriatrics. They bring knowledge of aging issues that allow them and their staff to overcome the myths relating to aging and to focus on the problems at hand. At the same time, they will bring an experience of working with resources in your community. They are more aware of real life problems, health and otherwise, that emerge as persons age and the tools that are available to address those issues. They are also connected with a community of social workers, nurses, psychologists, elder law attorneys, advocates, and other elder care professionals who may be of assistance to you.